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Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,262 ratings  ·  443 reviews
The must-have guide to reading with children, now in a new and revised edition


Best-selling children's author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 7th 2008 by Mariner Books (first published 2001)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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I gratefully stumbled across this book while shelf reading at my library. This means reading the call numbers to find books in the wrong place. I like doing this, not only to clean up the library, but because I find excellent things!

Unfortunately, this iconic Australian author has been embroiled in one of Trump’s ‘initiatives’ – she was wrongfully detained on entry to The States (LA) where she was to perform a speaking event at a conference. I digress from talking about the book but this is very
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I don't disagree about the importance of reading out loud to your children, I do take issue with her conclusions that reading out loud alone will teach your child to read. In some cases that is definitely true, but everyone's brain is wired differently and learns differently.

I also strongly object to her flippancy with how she talks about dyslexia. We have read out loud to our daughter since she was an infant, and I still read out loud to her at age 7 because she loves books and stories an
Amanda Harrison
I hadn't picked this up originally because I assumed that everything important about reading aloud had already been said by Jim Trelease. I was wrong, this book is excellent inspiration for any parent or teacher who wants better ways to encourage reading in children. Mem Fox's background in the theater gives her an interesting perspective on reading as entertainment and she encourages teachers to embrace that use of reading in the classroom.

What Jim Trelease's book The Read Aloud Handbook is to
I found this book to be quite simplistic and filled! with! exclamation! points! The author has a good premise but rather than develop it, she spends most of the book with stories of her reading stories. There are very few statistics or case-studies mentioned, it's all the author's own experience. Very few children's books are mentioned (besides the author's). Worst of all, "Reading Magic" acts as if all hope for teaching your child to read rests in the first 3 years of life.

If someone is lookin
Kira Simion
Mar 14, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I 100% agree. This is one of the main reasons I loved learning English and how I even managed to.
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
So far this is very similar to an info-mercial on why it is important to read to children. OF course, since I am passionate about this subject, I don't mind that it seems like she tries to sell it so hard throughout the book. I do like that she gives specific examples about how rhyme, rhythm, repetition and the 7 different tones/inflections can hook a child and create passion from a young age. The other thing I really like about this book is Mem's idea that children have more success learning to ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents and teachers
I just discovered this book, but I must've been channeling my inner Mem Fox when our girls were born, because I've read to them since the day our oldest daughter was born (and even a little bit in utero, although I felt a little silly doing that.) In fact, one of our earliest books and absolute favorites is Time for Bed. We've read it so many times, I lost count.

I never thought that I was teaching our girls to read; I was merely spending a special time together, getting them settled down to cud
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't get enough of books like this. My husband has accused me of reading books that simply validate my own views on children and literature. I'm sure he's right -- but I don't care. A little validation never hurt, and I've gleaned new things from the last two volumes I've read about reading to your child. (Plus, I can counter by pointing out how many books he owns on the existence of UFOs. Hah!)

'Reading Magic' comes from Mem Fox, a children's author and reading advocate from Australia. She wr
Apr 10, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, I read the 1988 version of this book- so I don't know what is different in this one. But the 1988 version- yuck! I have to explain though- the premise is awesome- the blatant assumptions given are bogus. I am a bit defensive though right now- this author says she thinks that if every parent read to their child that we could eliminate the reading learning problems for good! My daughter was just diagnosed with dyslexia and can I tell you I have read out loud to her since she was a newborn- ...more
Kathleen O'Mara
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For this reviewer, there were no revelations in Reading Magic. Most of what Mem Fox writes is in the “of course” category for me. But what was exceedingly enjoyable was her take on reading to kids. Her style and examples were delightful.

This was a quick read in the pick-it-up, put-it-down, pick-it-up style of reading I seem to do these days.

While waiting at the dentist’s office, I read a portion of this book aloud to my 13-year-old son, who said, “I love it when you read to me, even if it’s re
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching-ideas
The only thing wrong with this book is that the people who really need to read it probably won't. I felt like she was preaching to the choir (me) because I agree with a lot of what she said. I don't agree that reading aloud to kids will fix reading disabilities, but I've seen the difference in my eighth grade reading students (kids with reading disabilities) between the ones who were read to often and the ones who were not read to. The ones who were read to try harder because they have a love fo ...more
Samantha W.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh read aloud books, you light a fire in my soul everytime.

I've always been a reader, it was fostered in my family from a very early age. We read aloud as I got older too, I vividly remember my dad reading Where the Red Fern Grows to my family as we all sat in the living room together. It's one of those things you always remember.

I've always read to my children, and I've always encouraged them to read what they like. What I found most interesting in this book was the talk about "poor" readers
In this book Mem Fox reveals the emotional and academic impact about reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. All parents want and expect their children to learn and read but few realize the impact they have on their ability to help their children alone the way. The author, also a literacy expert, using humor and her expertise, tells us about her own experience with reading aloud, not only to her own children but also her college students. The author reveals the importanc ...more
Hector Caballero
This book is intended to educate parents on the importance of reading aloud to their children. Written by Mem Fox, who is a former professor of literacy education, and who is the author of many popular children’s books.

“Reading Magic” is filled with very important do’s and don'ts of reading aloud to children. The book describes ways in which an adult can make reading fun, and not turn children off to reading by turning reading into a chore. The book does an excellent job of explaining why readi
Sheila Saiko
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
This book explains the fundamental reasons as to why children should be read aloud to and often. The book was not what I initially expected. While the author has an amazing background and obviously a profound insight and passion for reading aloud. I thought there would be substantiated reasoning to how reading aloud will accomplish great things in a child’s life instead the book was littered with real-life examples as basis for theory. While these examples provide interesting cases of what readi ...more
Ellen Haigh
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This book really expressed to me as a reader how important and beneficial it is to read aloud to children along with insightful advice. Mem Fox is very positive and energetic throughout the whole book. The book states very good reasons how reading aloud to children does have a huge impact on their future. Her personal stories truly added great presence to the book. All of her individual stories have noticeably changed how children continue to read. I feel as though the author directs her attenti
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great introduction to the art and necessity of reading to our children. Mem Fox weaves her own personal stories along with anecdotes throughout the book, offering information on why it’s important to read to our children and how children develop their communication, reading, and writing skills. She shares tips on how to read to our children and why it is incredibly important to start when they are babies. Wiping out illiteracy could be accomplished within one generation, if we wou ...more
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Preaching to the choir! Most parents interested in reading this book will already believe in the benefits of reading to children. Fox gives those parents encouragement to keep up the good work, which is great, but I do hope some skeptics will also pick up the book and be convinced to read, and read often, to their children.

I don't think this book is useful as a tool for educators or reading specialists, however. Fox relies too heavily on personal experience and anecdotal "evidence" to back up h
Stephanie Huish
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mem Fox's enthusiasm for reading aloud to children definitely exudes in her writing. She gives obvious but great reminders about having expression while reading aloud to children, in order to create a fun environment. I think she points out, needfully, that children must have good feelings fostered towards reading - we must make it enjoyable!

Fox seems to attribute a little too much to reading - it is valuable but not a cure-all for character:)

Fox is an advocate for "whole language literacy" ve
Aug 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone that was read to as a child and has worked at a library for nine years, I am not the target audience for this book; I have always believed in the necessity of reading to children and have seen many great storytellers and librarians in action, so what may seem like common sense to me, may not be to everyone. I think this book is great for parents who may not yet see the value of libraries, books, or reading aloud. It is passionately written and contains pages of great anecdotes. Readin ...more
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Wonderful book. All parents should read. I wish I had know how important it is to read out loud to children, even babies; when my children were born.
Excellent Book!!
Mem Fox-Best-selling children's author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effe
Carrie Mallon
I found the tone of this book to be a bit sanctimonious, in spite of the fact that I am a very strong believer in reading to children often and from birth. The book made some good points but it was nothing that I hadn't heard before or practiced myself. Perhaps I was not the intended audience. If you are looking for information on how to make your voice interesting while reading to children then this would be a good place to look.
I loved this book. It confirmed how important I believed reading aloud to be and also provided a fantastic list of books with which to start.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has so much great information in it. I encourage all parents to read. I listened to the audio version and it was fantastic.
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every new parent!
(Originally read in 2008)
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Not many scientific facts but many anecdotes and stories to convince me nonetheless! A quick read- I would recommend this.
I enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook, but definitely have some reservations keeping me from rating it 4- or 5-stars.

1. I'm not a teacher or literacy expert, but I felt it oversimplified the ease with which children can learn to read if they are read-aloud to from a very young age. I can't back this up, but looking over some other reviews, I think this could be doing a disservice to children and families encountering reading/learning challenges.

2. While reading aloud at bedtime does work
Jessica Nielsen
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book Review

Why reading aloud to our children will change their lives forever

An introduction for my classmates is provided a general purpose of this book. This books main purpose is to teach people that reading aloud to ones child is the most important thing they can do for them for many reasons. Mem Fox is the author and she explains that babies are actually born learners. She goes into detail while discussing the importance of reading books while at home, and she stresses the value of continuou
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book stresses the importance of reading aloud to our children. As a society, we constantly ask the question, “How can we help our children develop and prepare them for education?” Mem Fox argues that the simple act of reading to and with our children will accomplish just that. Reading aloud with our children will help develop reading, listening, and speaking skills. She also introduces us to a few secrets of reading aloud and teaches us how to apply them. The great thing about this bo
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever By Mem Fox

“Knowledge is power” and “keep reading” are the two best things I ever learned growing up. I chose to read this book because there is value to reading aloud to children. The author suggests some creative ways to teach children to read. The main audience for this book are parents of young children. The purpose is to explain why and how it changes children throughout their academic career. The reason I chose
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Mem Fox was born in Australia, grew up in Africa, studied drama in England, and returned to Adelaide, Australia in 1970, where she has lived with her husband, Malcolm, and daughter Chloë, happily ever after.

Mem Fox is Australia’s most highly regarded picture-book author. Her first book, Possum Magic, is the best selling children’s book ever in Australia, with sales of over three million. And in th

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